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What is APA?

APA is one of many referencing styles used

in academic writing. APA stands for American
Psychological Association. The Association
outlines the style in the Publication manual of
the American Psychological Association [APA]
(6th ed.).
When you reference you use the standardized style
to acknowledge the source of information used in your
work. It is important (morally & legally) to
acknowledge someone else’s ideas or words you have
used. Academic writing encourages paraphrasing
information you have researched and read.
Paraphrasing means re-wording something you have
read in to your own words. If you use someone else’s
words or work and fail to acknowledge them – you may
be accused of plagiarism and infringing copyright.
There are two main parts to referencing:
1. The first indicating within your work
the sources of the information you
have used to write your work. This
demonstrates support for your ideas,
arguments and views. Sometimes this
is referred to as: citing in text, in text
citations or text citations
2. The second part to referencing is the
construction of a reference list. The
reference list shows the complete
details of everything you cited and
appears in an alphabetical list on a
separate page, at the end of your work.
How to reference
1. In text citations
When citing in text within an
assignment, use the author/s (or
editor/s) last name followed by the
year of publication.
Water is a necessary part of every person’s diet and of all the
nutrients a body needs to function, it requires more water
each day than any other nutrient (Whitney & Rolfes, 2011).

Whitney and Rolfes (2011) state the body requires many

nutrients to function but highlight that water is of greater
importance than any other nutrient.

Water is an essential element of anyone’s diet and Whitney

and Rolfes (2011) emphasise it is more important than any
other nutrient.
1.2. Six or seven authors
Example: (Mikosch et al., 2010)
1.3. Groups as authors
Example: First text citation: (Ministry of Health [MOH], 2007).
Second & subsequent citations: (MOH, 2007).
1.4. Similar information referred to by more than one author
Example: Resilience is seen as the ability to overcome
adversary, combat stress and bounce back from hardship
(Dawson, 2006; Overton, 2005).
1.5. Citing a secondary source
Example: Fawcett (as cited in Polit & Beck, 2008) outlined the
four main concepts…
2. Reference list
The reference list provides all the details
necessary for the person reading and/or
marking the assignment to locate and
retrieve any information source cited. An
accurate and properly constructed
reference list provides credibility to the
written work it accompanies.
Basic rules
1. The reference list is arranged in alphabetical order of
the authors’ last names.
2. If there is more than one work by the same author,
order them by publication date – oldest to
newest (therefore a 2004 publication would appear
before a 2008 publication).
3. If there is no author the title moves to that position
and the entry is alphabetised by the first
significant word, excluding words such as “A” or “The”.
If the title is long, it may be shortened
when citing in text.
4. Use “&” instead of “and” when listing multiple
authors of a source.
5. The first line of the reference list entry is left-hand
justified, while all subsequent lines are
consistently indented.
6. Capitalise only the first word of the title and of the
subtitle, if there is one, plus any proper
names – i. e. only those words that would normally be
7. Italicise the title of the book, the title of the
journal/serial and the title of the web document.
8. Do not create separate lists for each type of
information source. Books, articles, web
documents, brochures, etc. are all arranged
alphabetically in one list.
1. Author/s or Editor/s last name (surname) appears
first, followed by initials (Bloggs, J.).
2. Year of publication in parenthesis (2010).
3. Full title of the book. Capitalise only the first word of
the title and the subtitle, if any, and
proper names. Italicise the title. Use a colon (:)
between the title and subtitle.
4. Include the edition number, if applicable, in brackets
after the title or subtitle (3rd ed.) or (Rev.
ed.). Note: No full stop, after the title, if there is an
5. Place of publication. Always include the city and 2-
letter state code when published inside the
USA, and the city & country, if published outside the
USA (Fort Bragg, CA or Auckland, New
Zealand or Benalla, Australia or Weybridge, England). If
there are two or more places included
in the source, then use the first one listed.
6. Publisher’s name. Provide this as briefly as possible.
Do not use terms such as Publishers, Co.,
or Inc. but include the words Books & Press. When the
author and the publisher are the same,
use the word Author as the name of the publisher.


Collier, A. (2008). The world of tourism and travel.

Rosedale, New Zealand: Pearson Education New
Serial/journal articles
1. Author/s last name (surname) first, followed by
2. Year of publication in brackets. (2012)
3. Title of article. Capitalise only the first word of the
title and the subtitle, if any, and proper
names. Use a colon (:) between the title and subtitle.
4. Title of the serial/journal in full in italics.
5. Volume number, in italics. Do not use “Vol.” before
the number.
6. Issue number. This is bracketed immediately after
the volume number but not italicised.
7. Month, season or other designation of publication if
there is no volume or issue number.
8. Include all page numbers.
9. Include any Digital Object Identifiers [DOI].

Thompson, C. (2010). Facebook: Cautionary tales for
nurses. Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand, 16(7), 26.
Internet sources
1. Author/s of the document or information – individual
or organisation/corporate author.
2. Date of publication. If no date is available use (n.d.).
3. Title of the document or webpage in italics.
4. Complete & correct web address/URL.

Ministry of Health. (2014). Ebola: Information for the public.
Retrieved from
Blog post
Stefanie. (2014, October 8). What a tangled web:
Website versus webpage [Blog post]. Retrieved

Note: The title of the blog post is not italicised

Dictionary (print)
Weller, B. F. (Ed.). (2009). Bailliere’s nurses dictionary:
For nurses and health care workers (25th ed.).
Edinburgh, Scotland: Elsevier.

Dictionary (online)
Cambridge dictionaries online. (2011). Retrieved from
Specific entry in an online dictionary (no author)
Acquiescence. (2011). In Merriam-Webster’s online
dictionary. Retrieved from